Missions & Visions
Missions and visions can be useful in change situations to give a sense of direction and purpose to the changes - valuable way of realigning the focus of an organisation and communicating it to everybody. Some key points are:
- Without them, particularly in complex change programmes with a number of strands, people can become confused as to what it is all about and where it is leading.
- Many change initiatives generate a “planning blight”. The momentum of the change programme stops or delays normal changes and improvements e.g. a new induction or recruitment procedure - changes which are outside of the formal change initiative. A mission or a vision can provide a framework and a “hook” for them.
- To be effective, they do need to be convincing to staff and address factors which people recognise as important.
- Thus formulating them can take time and managers do need to invest time and effort in formulating them.
The words mission and vision are often used in an interchangeable manner. The diagram below represents what we have seen as the most common usage:
- A vision is a short, snappy, evocative statement designed
to capture the essence of what the organisation is striving for.
Thus, the Apple vision was for a time "to change the world, one
person at a time". British Airways was "to be the best". A vision is
aimed particularly at stimulating those working in the organisation.
- a mission statement tends to be much more analytical and considered. A mission statement should cover the requirements of all key stakeholders. One prison had as their mission:
Prison Mission Statement
to provide prisoners as responsible individuals with a range of opportunities to prepare themselves for release through self development; to do so with humanity and care in a regime which fosters good relationships and a spirit of shared enterprise; to provide secure custody and control consistent with the type of prisoner and in an environment which is safe, fair, just and open for prisoners and staff alike.
The following is for a major supermarket
Supermarket Mission Statement
To discharge the responsibility as leaders in our trade by acting with complete integrity, by carrying out our work to the highest standards, and by contributing to the public good and to the quality of life in the community.
- To provide unrivalled value to our customers in the quality of the goods we sell, in the competitiveness of our prices and in the range of choice we offer.
- In our stores. to achieve the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene, efficiency of operation, convenience and customer service, and thereby create as attractive and friendly a shopping environment as possible.
- To offer our staff outstanding opportunities in terms of personal career development and in remuneration relative to other companies in the same market, practising always a concern for the welfare of every individual.
- To generate sufficient profit to finance continual improvement and growth of the business whilst providing our shareholders with an excellent return on their investment.
Formulating a Mission statement
A good mission statement needs to be defined to take account of the requirements/desires of the key stakeholders - those with a vested interest in the outcomes of the team. As the above ones have. The following two-stage process is our preferred approach. This particular example is for a project but the principle is the same for any entity.
1. Review of the various stakeholders of the team and their requirements. Brainstorm to establish the stakeholders of the team - those with a vested interest in the team and its’ outcomes. For each stakeholder, establish the key criteria (four or five) by which they will assess the success of the team - what will make them say that the team is a success.
2. Develop a mission statement to satisfy those criteria. Write an overall definition and description of the team and its aims, then formulate objectives for each of the major stakeholders.
Project to introduce Project Management Training
To develop and introduce project management training into the organisation for managers who manage projects as part of their wider responsibilities. Training to be cost effective and start late 1999.
- For the Managers & Staff; to provide training for managers and staff which is practical and relevant, and which builds skills and confidence in their ability to manage their projects and produce successful outcomes.
- For Senior Management; to support them with a programme of training which will lead to an increase in the organisation’s project management capability, and a consistent approach to its management of projects.
- For the IT Unit; to support rather than conflict with the established PRINCE methodology used by the IT Unit in project managing IT projects.
- For the Human Resources Unit; to ensure that it has project management training, which is leading edge, which fits with its other training, and which is seen to make a significant contribution to the organisation’s effectiveness and capability.